The ability to produce quality content frequently and on a regular publishing schedule is a struggle for many. Over the past several years, content marketing’s focus has shifted from an emphasis on quantity and frequency and instead has emphasized the importance of quality. Today, most marketing professionals would insist that the ultimate goal of a content strategy is to produce content that matters to your audience, even if that means posting less frequently.
The problem, of course, is that it’s not always possible to define exactly what quality is for your target audience. Having a piece of content go viral seems like the ultimate measurement of success, but producing that type of content isn’t as easy as it sounds. Sure, there are guides that claim to tell you how to produce viral content. There even some attributes of viral content that are fairly easy to define. But putting a finger on what it is that tips content from dry and flat to useful or even potentially viral isn’t as easy as it sounds. What is vitally valuable to one client might not reach another customer’s pain point at all. Because of this, current best practice is a dual approach to content marketing that focuses on publishing as much high-quality content as possible—with the emphasis on quality.
A Marketing Timeline
The appearance of inbound marketing has changed drastically since the internet became such a popular source for gathering information. Blogging first appeared on a traditional news site in 1998. It was in 2005 that the concept of inbound marketing first appeared on the marketing scene. From 2007 to 2012, inbound marketing slowly grew as a concept. Today, it’s recognized by many marketing professionals as a critical tool for growing an audience, improving buyer awareness, and increasing brand awareness.
In the early days of inbound marketing, content of high quality was the most critical part of the equation. Slowly, it grew to include all the facets of inbound marketing as we know it today: blogging, social media, content creation across a variety of channels, the business website, search-engine optimization, and more. Inbound marketing has become a powerful tool that allows marketers to close on more than 14 percent of the leads they’ve gained online. Today’s marketers are focusing on Google’s search-engine analytics in order to create more effective inbound marketing content. Throughout the early years of content marketing’s hold, that meant producing content that was a cut above the rest. Today’s strategy, however, is more nuanced.
The Future of Content Marketing
While the quality of your content is critical, the volume of content on your website and social media pages does matter. Frequency and consistency will help determine the ultimate success of your content marketing strategy. Your readers want to know how often you’re going to post and when to expect it from you.
Today’s metrics show that frequent posting is an important way to drive traffic to your webpage. Sixteen or more blog posts per month substantially increases the amount of traffic visiting the page, while posting weekly or less has little impact on-site visits. This is even more true for smaller businesses than it is for big businesses. That content, however, doesn’t necessarily have to be blog posts alone.
Today’s marketers have a wide array of content marketing platforms to choose from, including:
- Videos (including live videos)
- Ebooks, guides, and other downloadable content
What does the future hold? A better understanding of what high-quality content includes. It will focus on more nuanced keywords to drive the right traffic. High-value content isn’t just seasonal and won’t just draw in current hits; it will also be defined as the type of evergreen posts that will continue to generate traffic long after they are actively being promoted.
The Impact of Quantity
In this notable post, Steve Rayson points out that The Washington Post produces approximately 1,200 pieces of content per day. And their readership has grown 28 percent in the past year as a result. That works great for a team as large as the Post‘s. But the Post isn’t the only company that has successfully struck a balance between quantity and quality.
HubSpot, which also produces a high volume of posts, noted that, on a perfectly average month, more than 90 percent of their traffic came from posts that weren’t published that month. That means that old posts were generating a huge amount of inbound traffic. The takeaway? Producing a high quantity of quality content posts can boost your current traffic.
Neil Patel has implemented a formula for increasing blog traffic that’s been proven successful for many businesses. At the heart of Patel’s strategy is increased content creation: that is, generating a high level of content in order to bring in traffic from a variety of sources every day.
Search Engine Journal examined the success of long-tail keywords and found that when they were able to specifically target strategic long-tail keywords they saw an increase in traffic by 78 percent.
How is Your Client Discerning Value?
If all you’re considering is whether or not readers are clicking through to check out a link, the headline is the only critical part of the content. Eighty percent of people simply check out the headlines, and only 20% will actually read the post.
If you really want to create quality content, you need to take a look at a variety of metrics, including:
- Page views
- Time spent on the page
- Conversions on calls-to-action throughout the post and at the end (This will tell you how people are responding to the content and the actions you’d like for them to take.)
For many agencies, this is an opportunity to provide guidance for customers who are unsure of how to take advantage of the metrics they have available. Metrics should be based on current goals and used to drive future marketing decisions.
There are also a few simple tips that will help you hone your content, regardless of your audience:
- If you want to increase engagement on social media, use video.
- If you want better comprehension of what you’re writing, take steps to improve readability scores.
- Break your content down into a form that’s easier to skim. Short posts are sometimes easier to read, but long posts have the potential to offer more detail.
The Audience Should Define Your Content
No matter what the current trends are in content marketing, you should create quality content that is specifically based on the needs of the individuals who are reading the content. If your readers are busy parents who barely have time to drink a cup of coffee while it’s still hot, long-form articles that drag on for pages might not be the best type of content for them. If, on the other hand, they’re business professionals who pride themselves on being the best in their industry, they’ll be more interested in reading to the end of long-form content.
Make sure that you clearly understand the specific needs of the people who will be reading your content. Take the time to examine them, to create specific buyer personas, and then to create only content that will resonate specifically with those customers. All the content in the world won’t reach your intended audience if you aren’t creating content specifically for them.
In a world that has been flooded with readily available content, continuing to produce more content is still critical to getting your website noticed. If you want to push to the top of search engine rankings, expand your audience, and create a wider group of readers, publish as much quality content as you can.